Child Bicycle Accidents: Information Parents Should Know About
As a Staten Island child injury and accident lawyer I know the serious dangers associated with children's bicycle accidents and understand that they can occur anywhere and at anytime. Many of these bicycle accidents that occur cause traumatic injuries and sometimes even result in death. Faced with the unfortunate and far too common (and unnecessary) reality of child bicycle accidents, the following is a summary of some important information, statistics and advice that Staten Island parents should be aware of:
Examples of bicycle accidents that have occurred recently in Staten Island, New York City and New Jersey:
- 8 Year Old New York Child Hit By Car While Riding Bicycle
- Teen Riding Bike Hit By Pick-up Truck In New Jersey
According to the Center for Injury Research at the Nationwide Children's Hospital on average there are approximately 10,700 children hospitalized due to bicycle related injuries in the United States annually. Of these bicycle injuries about 30% were caused by the involvement of a motor vehicle.
A study specifically based off of New York City child bicycle accidents conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed that 92% of bicycle fatalities in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Queens occurred because of crashes with a motor vehicle.
Also among the leading causes for child bicycle injuries are defective bicycles and falling due to broken pavement.
The statistics involving children injured due to bicycle accidents are very alarming and with these accidents come very serious injuries.
The most common injuries involved in children's bicycle accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injury - this occurs when an outside force traumatically injures the brain and can possibly lead to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical and psychosocial functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness;
- Fractures - a break in bone or cartilage, usually as a result of trauma;
- Cuts - an area of severed skin; and
- Abrasions - a scraping away of a portion of a layer or multiple layers of skin
Perhaps the most devastating of these injuries that can occur is traumatic brain injury. In fact over 1/3 of children hospitalized due to a bicycle related injury in 2007 were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
A study done by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute showed that wearing a helmet reduces traumatic brain injuries by almost 85%.
As a parent it is our responsibility to make sure our children are safe, but sometimes things such as our child being injured in a bicycle accident is out of our control.
Here are some useful bicycle safety tips to follow to help keep your child safe on his/her bike:
- Always make sure your child wears a helmet;
- Conduct frequent bicycle safety checks to ensure that the breaks are effective and that everything is in proper working order on the bicycle;
- Make sure the bicycle is the correct fit to your child;
- Install the proper reflectors on your child's bicycle;
- Teach your child proper bicycle safety;
- Encourage your child to use the bicycle lanes as opposed to riding in the middle of the street; and
- Frequently check for helmet and bicycle manufacturer defects and product recalls
For additional useful child bicycle safety resources click on any of the links below:
National SAFE KIDS Campaign
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Bike New York